Okay, I’ll admit it: I love all of the classic Broadway shows we put on here at the Renaissance. They’re always fan favorites, thanks to their highly popularized soundtracks and storylines. (This season, we’ve got shows like Cabaret and Little Shop of Horrors in store, which is so exciting!) However, I do feel that musical theatre in its catchiness and pizzazz often steals the spotlight, and other forms of art may get overlooked, though they all boast their own type of pizzazz. That said, I’d like to take a moment to recognize other facets of the performing arts world, both at the Renaissance and in general.
We’ve all felt it: a bundle of nerves, a stressful week, emotional baggage…the list goes on. Those who suffer from mental illnesses or sensory processing disorders can be even more vulnerable to big changes and over-stimulation. There are many ways to unwind and give one’s mind a break, and luckily, theatres like us can play a big part in that. Performance art for some can lead to personal catharsis or relief, a concept known as drama therapy.
If you’re like me, you probably have fond memories of going to your local library to borrow books, CDs, and everything in between. I’ve always gone to the Lexington branch of the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library (MRCPL), and as a kid I LOVED the summer library program. I was a book worm, and the library made reading cool. Though I’m a bit older now, I’ve realized that no one ever stops reading and learning new things. Here at the Ren, we would like to celebrate both MRCPL and their library cardholders alike during our 2020-2021 Season.
The month of June is pride month for the LGBTQ+ community. It’s a tradition that started with the Stonewall Riots in 1969 (which were led by black and brown trans women, by the way!). LGBTQ+ activists and allies have made historic progress for the community in recent years, such as in SCOTUS rulings Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) and Bostock v. Clayton County (2020). Many people are familiar with pride parades and festivities but might not know that famous playwrights, actors, composers, etc. have also been part of the community. In honor of the many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people who have shaped theatre, here are 5 you should know.
The pandemic has taken a toll on arts organizations and performers around the world. Content has gone online, which is great to continue valuable missions, but not so great when most organizations utilize over 60% of ticket revenue for operating budgets and performers have lost their salaries.
As stated in ArtsBlog from Americans for the Arts, “The arts are fundamental to our humanity. They ennoble and inspire us—fostering creativity, goodness, and beauty. The arts bring us joy, help us express our values, and build bridges between cultures. The arts also are a fundamental component of a healthy community—strengthening them socially, educationally, and economically—benefits that persist even in difficult social and economic times.”
In 2020, please consider supporting the arts as much as you can. And, if you need a reason why, here are 10 of them.
In our last blog, October 2019 was noted as an intense month for the Renaissance – tons of events and productions. One event… a monumental event…will never be forgotten – the demolition of the Rainbow Mortgage building.
This once majestic building was taken down on October 30, 2019 to a crowd of Renaissance Performing Arts and Little Buckeye Children’s Museum supporters in camaraderie for the future of The Imagination District.
The Imagination District is the brainchild of Mike Miller, CEO of the Renaissance Performing Arts Association, and Fred Boll, Executive Director of Little Buckeye Children’s Museum. The collaboration of the two organizations will create the area known as The Imagination District. In September 2018, The Renaissance opened the Black Box Theatre (Theatre 166.) This venue is located directly next to the future home of Little Buckeye Children’s Museum on Park Avenue. The future is bright for this alliance – one of the many plans for Theatre 166 is to hold educational activities and performances specific to children from the museum.
October 2019 at the Renaissance was intense. We had the very popular Sweeney Todd, the Mayoral Debate, the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra’s “Family Pops,” and the Family Film: The Nightmare Before Christmas. Rounding it all out was the intensely personal and intimate production, The Last Five Years, in Theatre 166.
For those who may not know The Last Five Years, this musical has only two cast members: Cathy (portrayed by Matti-Lynn Chrisman) telling her story backward while Jamie (portrayed by Ryan Shreve) tells his story chronologically. These two 20-something New Yorkers fall in and out of love over the course of five years, and the characters only meet once throughout the musical (at their wedding in the middle of the show.) This emotionally powerful and intimate musical was a great triumph for both actors, as well as for Director Ryan Shealy.
The Mansfield Symphony Orchestra is a very important part of the Renaissance Performing Arts Association. Founded in 1930, the Mansfield Symphony is deeply rooted in our community. It was the merging of the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra with the Renaissance Theatre in 1997 that created the association we have today – Renaissance Performing Arts.
Each season, the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra holds six concerts. Three concerts are called “Masterworks” which highlight famous and classic symphonic repertoire, and three concerts are called “Pops” which honors more popular compositions.
The first concert in the 2019-20 Season was titled “Bohemian Souls” for the compositions performed on the concert – Missy Mazzoli’s Sinfonia (for orbiting spheres), the beautiful Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with Spanish virtuoso, Francisco Fullana, and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8, which was composed in honor of his election into the Bohemian Academy of Science, Literature and Arts.
The Renaissance first opened in 1928. It has seen the Great Depression of 1929, the Great Recession of 2008, and It weathered the storm of becoming an X-rated movie house in 1979 resulting in closure due to public outcry.
The Renaissance Theatre originally opened as the Ohio Theatre.
The Renaissance (like ALL not-for-profit performing arts organizations) is now facing its greatest challenge in the history of its existence with COVID-19. Over60% of our operational budget comes from ticket revenue, and with doors closed we are currently at zero. However, all of us here at the Renaissance have hope. We have hope that soon this pandemic will be under control and our doors will once again be open to provide our community first-rate performances. No matter what genre of the performing arts you love, we have it – Broadway, Symphony, Country through Rock, Comedy – we will bring it back to you!!
This blog is the first of many called “Pictures Say A 1,000 Words.” We are releasing these twice a week with pictures from this season’s performances with hope they will remind you of the wonderful experiences of the past, and hope for more in the near future.
First up is our 2019 summer musical, Roald Dahl’s Matilda. We can’t thank Jeff Sprang of Jeff Sprang Photography enough for these pictures, and all of the photography from our shows!